But in the interim . . .
It's shocking to realize my baby is already (almost) 2 weeks old. On one hand, she's been here forever and ever. On the other, what a terribly short time that is. I'm realizing the heartbreak of parenting a living child - the time flies so quickly and it is so ephemeral. Already, Vivienne is changing.
My little tiny girl had regained her birth weight by her one week appointment, and now she's visibly bigger (and heavier). She's getting a second chin and chubby arms and legs and her hands no longer look a size too big. Her hair is lighter (unsurprisingly, she's going to be a blonde child - DH was platinum blonde and I had dark blonde hair until late toddlerhood when it began darkening), and her eyes are changing too. It's still debatable whether they will stay grey like mine or turn green like DH's. She tries to hold her head up, eager to see the world around her.
I remember telling my mother last week that I don't want her to change, that she can't get bigger yet, that she's got to stay small forever, or at least long enough for me to enjoy it. Alas, time marches on and I can't quite get over a tiny bit of resentment at how much of it has been spent sleeping or attached to the pump. I try to make the most of the time she is alert and awake. I've spent hours just watching the expressions flit over her face (three guesses where my favorite nickname of 'Baby Fish Face' came from). She has the most gorgeous smile and there is also a grin and a sideways glance of the eyes that will be killer some day when they aren't just reflexes and ingrained survival instinct but are 'real' - though I'll happily coo over the expressions now, because they are so amazing.
So she's already begun to grow, and grow up, and as sad as that makes me I also can't wait for more. I can't wait to see how she reacts to the pool and going swimming and what she thinks of applesauce and pear puree and watching her discover things and begin moving and talking . . . I want to jump ahead and I want time to stop all at once.
It's different being a mother to a living child (perceptive, aren't I?) - the thing is that time did stop with Gabriel. There was only then and that was it. We only had a few minutes to cram in all the love of a lifetime. We never got to watch the expressions on his face, we never got to see what would happen next. I'll never know what his eye color would have been, nor what he would have liked or loathed. He is forever frozen in that moment of his life and his death, almost as frozen as a picture. The only thing we knew after is grief, and trying to piece together and remember what joy had come before. Whereas, with Vivienne, it's ongoing. She is vital, she moves, she breathes, she changes, she lives. We are not forever mourning that moment of loss, that snuffed potential - we are mourning each tiny moment even while anticipating the next. The anticipation, the expectation, the hope of the future, that is what is different.
I miss him terribly right now. I know he weighed heavily on DH, especially at the end of my pregnancy, but I was still in suspended animation. I knew then that what would weigh on me would be the common everyday things of life with a living baby, and I was right. Doing things with Viv, it reminds me of the things I didn't do with Gabe. The absence is magnified by her presence. Sometimes I think I feel a small presence, a little boy at my side peering over my shoulder, unsure what to make of this creature, unsure where he fits in now. Poor older brother, is it any easier being a spirit sibling?
And yet, the sadness is not lingering, not really. Perhaps it is lost in the exhaustion of a newborn, perhaps it's buried to erupt later. Perhaps there is simply too much joy in cuddling the flesh and blood that are tangible in my arms. If I kiss her every chance I can, and hold her close to my heart for an extra beat or two, well, that's not so strange, I expect.
Ah, I hear her stirring. It's nearly time for her next feeding and I need to pump. Again. But here are a couple of pictures. Somehow, we ended up with a completely gorgeous baby.
(Vivienne, 6 days old, half asleep, half smiling)
(Vivienne, 11 days old, looking out the window, presumably thinking deep, deep thoughts)